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Letters to the editor of the Pahrump Valley Times

Earlier column focused on small-time newspapers

Regarding the VOICES page in the Oct. 10, 2018 PVT; in my opinion, Steve Ranson’s half-page article or column was more than generous when handing out adulation to newspapers and small-town newspapers’ in particular.

I also found it interesting the First Amendment to our national Constitution, was printed above his column; I suspect this printing was done to remind readers newspapers set their own rules and by self-confession believe themselves omniscient.

I would like to believe framers of our Constitution envisioned newspapers would provide readers with balanced and unbiased information regarding community affairs; from which citizens could make realistic political decisions. Unfortunately, political bias and allegiance of newspaper owners quickly found ways to shape printed content and censorship by exclusion of opposing political points of view.

Here in Pahrump we are faced with news silence or apparent censorship concerning decisions and actions of inclusive county governance. The local newspaper limits its coverage to ‘done deals’ such as: actions of the fire department, daylight political actions…i.e. the governor’s proclamations about the nuclear waste site based on a past technical paradigm and sometimes happenings of the county commission meetings.

What about investigative reporting and follow-up coverage of lingering issues? What is going on in the community of Belmont (wells, septic tanks and public health issues)? Then there are simple things, like traffic tickets issued along streets with non-uniform traffic signage. While on the subject of money-gaining traffic tickets, Pahrump’s population is reported to be approximately 75 percent retired people. Just think what a non-safety related traffic ticket does to the premium of a fixed-income senior citizen’s auto insurance.

With this being an election year, notice the absence of information in our small town newspaper profiling candidates begging for our votes in the fall election. Nearly all voters know about candidates is gleaned from roadside signs.

I think it would behoove reporters, of this small-town newspaper, to vacate their police scanners and do some honest ferreting out the real reasons, agenda and motivations for county commission decisions.

Another item receiving a minimum of ink, in our local small-town newspaper, is status of lingering court cases lodged against Nye County. Another item of interest, to many citizens, would be how much various county department heads or managers are being paid in take-home pay plus the value of benefit and retirement packages.

Dwight W. Hunter

This letter was edited, including for space.

Congress must rebuild rural community infrastructure

As a lifelong Republican, former mayor of Mesquite, former town manager of Pahrump, and member of the National League of Cities, I’m calling on Congress to partner with rural communities to develop an infrastructure plan to support our modern economy. Our country at large – and our rural communities in particular – are greatest when we invest in building great things.

Nevada’s infrastructure received a C- from the American Society of Civil engineers in its most recent report card. They describe our infrastructure as “struggling to meet the state’s needs with a growing population” and identify school facilities as “hardest hit.” Some of our schools have campuses that are over 100 years old, and many of our schools lack the equipment to prepare students for high-tech jobs such as hardware and software development.

In 2016, 100 percent of residents of Nye County lacked access to (nonmobile) advanced telecommunications, according to the FCC’s 2016 Broadband Progress Report. A local initiative spearheaded by the Valley Electric Association and Switch is connecting rural towns in Nevada to a fiber-optic circuit, bringing high-speed communications to our communities.

Across the country, rural communities like Pahrump are creating local partnerships to expand broadband access, repave roads, upgrade water treatment systems, and address the critical infrastructure needs of the future. But the tax base in rural communities is simply too small to fund all of our infrastructure needs. There’s only so much that we can accomplish alone. We need a strong partner in the federal government.

Our country has $2.0 trillion of infrastructure needs, with more than $15 billion of needs in Nevada. While the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 provides some funding for infrastructure, it won’t come close to closing this gap. We need Congress to prioritize an infrastructure plan that will improve our nation’s water, broadband, and transportation infrastructure.

I joined the National League of Cities (NLC) in 2005 to amplify the voices of more than 19,000 fellow city leaders. As representatives of our community, we work together to ensure that the federal government understands the infrastructure needs of our cities.

America’s infrastructure problems have simmered on the back burner for too long. They cannot wait any longer. It’s time for Congress to work with rural communities to rebuild, restore, and re-imagine America’s infrastructure. I hope our entire federal delegation, including Democrats like Dina Titus and Catherine Cortez Masto and Republicans like Representative Amodei and Senator Heller, will put aside partisanship and work to rebuild with us.

Susan Holecheck

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